Free Verse as Free as a Bird

By Emme' Fernandez

History of Free Verse Poetry

  • it became popular in the 20th century
  • there are free verse "roots" going in to the 17th century

Purpose of Free Verse

  • to have no rules ( be rebels )
  • to go beyond regular poetry


  • The length of the line can be as long or as short as desired
  • sometimes poets break lines (even though a certain group of words belong together) to create a shape to support the poem
  • sometime to empathize a word in the poem the author will give the word its own line
  • it is sometimes thought to be a spoken song when read aloud
  • often authors write being a more complex meaning- convey meaning
  • tries to capture imagery
  • many authors use figurative lang.
  • can chose to have rhyme or rhythm
  • no meter

A Few Examples of Free Verse

After the Sea-Ship by Walt Whitman

After the Sea-Ship—after the whistling winds;

After the white-gray sails, taut to their spars and ropes,

Below, a myriad, myriad waves, hastening, lifting up their necks,

Tending in ceaseless flow toward the track of the ship:

Waves of the ocean, bubbling and gurgling, blithely prying,

Waves, undulating waves—liquid, uneven, emulous waves,

Toward that whirling current, laughing and buoyant, with curves,

Where the great Vessel, sailing and tacking, displaced the surface;

Free Verse by Robert Graves

I now delight

In spite

Of the might

And the right

Of classic tradition,

In writing

And reciting

Straight ahead,

Without let or omission,

Just any little rhyme

In any little time

That runs in my head;

Because, I’ve said,

My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed

Like Prussian soldiers on parade

That march,

Stiff as starch,

Foot to foot,

Boot to boot,

Blade to blade,

Button to button,

Cheeks and chops and chins like mutton.

No! No!

My rhymes must go

Turn ’ee, twist ’ee,

Twinkling, frosty,

Will-o’-the-wisp-like, misty

Cites used ( great cites guys!!! )

cite used for history on free verse poetry #1 - date used 2-7-14 - author University of Michigan Press 839 Greene Street Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3209 - publisher Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license - copy right date - ©2012, Regents of the University of Michigan.

________________________________________________________________________________________________ purpose and Characteristics of free verse #4 #5 date used 12-9-14

________________________________________________________________________________________________ #7 for examples date used 12-9-14